Legislation

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Week 4 at the Legislature

The legislative session is in full swing, and the committees are considering important legislation that will impact educators and their families all over the state. One of the most enlightening discussions came on Wednesday during the consideration of House Bill 363.

HB 363 (Bryant) seeks to cement existing BESE policy into law. Unfortunately, the policy often isn’t followed in schools. Under BESE policy, SLTs are supposed to be drafted by teachers at the beginning of each school year, based on the unique needs of their students. Unfortunately, in many districts there is little-to-no discussion. This doesn’t happen everywhere, but it does happen too often, and it deprives our students of the individualized attention they are supposed to get from their educators. HB 363 simply says that if SLTs aren’t “developed collaboratively” with the teacher, those SLT scores shall not be used in the teacher’s evaluation.

It is supported by both teachers' unions and the Louisiana Association of Principals – all the stakeholders involved in this process in the schools. However, it faced significant pushback from the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry and the Pelican Institute...

Week 3 in the Legislature

This week brought an unexpected twist. The 2022 Regular Legislative Session was paused and interrupted a Redistricting Veto Override Session. On Monday, the legislature announced that a supermajority of legislators did not return ballots indicating they did not want to hold a veto override session. So, constitutionally a veto override session is called.

At the end of the day on Tuesday, the Regular Legislative Session adjourned, and at noon on Wednesday the Veto Override Session began. While scheduled to go at late as Sunday, the veto ultimately took only a few hours. By the end of the afternoon on Wednesday both the House and the Senate voted to override the Governor’s veto of the new Congressional map.

Week 2 in the Legislature

Two weeks into the legislative session and, so far, the legislature has yet to tackle the most controversial bills of the session. Committee meetings have focused on more mundane bills but an obvious elephant-in-the-room as tinged discussions. Legislators are finally waking up to the reality that our schools are in freefall. They are finally, beginning to see the teacher shortage for the crisis that it is. Next week several of the most crucial bills will be heard in committee and on the House floor. Find out what happened this week and what we can expect next week:

On Thursday, the House Education Committee heard a presentation from Dr. Kim Hunter Reed, Commissioner of Higher Education, and Representative Buddy Mincey on the Teacher Recruitment, Recovery and Retention Task Force.

Legislative Overview

The 2022 Legislative Session began Monday, March 14th at noon. LFT is already monitoring hundreds of bills this session, and legislation will continue to be filed until April 5th. Things can change quickly with little notice, whether it’s the agenda of a committee meeting or an amendment to a bill. Please follow us on Facebook and subscribe to our updates and follow along at la.aft.org/legislation so that you can stay up to date with everything happening at the Capitol.

Here are a few of the most important bills we are tracking this year:

State of Education IV

Teachers go to school for years so that they can understand how to help students learn. Student learning is the bedrock of everything they do in the classroom. The experience of seeing a student work to understand a concept and then finally ‘get it’ is one of the most rewarding experiences a teacher can have, and that is what drives educators to continue to do the work they do.

Unfortunately, over the last decade the teaching profession has changed significantly. Teachers don’t have the autonomy to individualize their lessons in the way their students might need. They don’t have the flexibility to utilize new techniques or materials that can inspire an unengaged student. Instead, they must stick to a strict curriculum designed to help students perform well on a very specific test.

State of Education III

Why Do Educators in Louisiana Get Paid So Little?

The Minimum Foundation Program is the funding formula for Louisiana public schools. It was established in order to determine the minimum cost of education in all public elementary and secondary schools. However, given the current state of our schools, one must ask: how much does it cost to educate a child in Louisiana?

House Bill 75

Parents and educators are committed to working together to solve the problems that our students face everyday and top of the list is solving the teacher shortage. We need to focus on increasing educator pay, fixing our broken accountability system, and ensuring that teachers have enough time everyday to adequately plan for their class.
Existing law already requires extensive transparency measures when it comes to text books and other instructional materials: http://la.aft.org/.../files/la._rev._stat._17_ss_351.1.pdf

The State of Education II

Every day, teachers find new and creative ways to keep their students learning. Still, a lot of work goes into preparing an excellent lesson. Teachers need adequate planning time to assess student work, review relevant curriculum, prepare their lesson, draft lesson plans, make copies, find resources for their students to use, and more. For many teachers, their planning time is the only point in the day where they have time to drink some water, eat, or use the restroom.

Given the ongoing teacher shortage, many teachers and support staff are being pulled out of their planning time or lunch to cover classes. Not only does this leave them without any time during the day to attend to their own needs and prepare for their own class, but the unpredictability also makes it impossible to effectively create an instructional plan.

The State of Education I

Is Louisiana's System for Teacher Evaluations Accurate?

There are many components that go into being a truly effective teacher. In Louisiana, policy dictates that two observations and an assessment score should narrowly judge the entirety of a teacher's work; every component and nuance of teaching for multiple students. Once a score is issued, there is almost no opportunity for teachers to redress any inaccuracies or inconsistencies in their evaluation.